I mean, whoever heard of a government project costing more —way more— than originally estimated?
Setting up insurance exchanges — the centerpiece of President Obama’s healthcare reform law — is costing the Health and Human Services Department a whole lot more than it originally expected. According to budget documents released Wednesday, the department expects to spend $4.4 billion on exchange grants to the states by the end of this year — double its estimates a year ago.
The HHS is also asking Congress for another $1.5 billion to set up a federal exchange in 26 states. The department has cobbled together money from other programs to get started, but officials said they need another $800 million for operational costs and $550 million for outreach and education.
What happens if Congress doesn’t approve the extra funds? After all, it rejected a similar, but smaller request just last month. An HHS budget official didn’t say, offering only that the department is committed to making exchanges work.
And you can bet on it, folks: costs will at least double, again. Probably several times. Not just because this is a government project, but because this is a poorly designed train wreck of a government project, a slow-motion debacle of epic proportions.
Memo to the House Republicans: You have one real power, the power to say “NO.” You’ve done it once already, you can do it again. And you can keep doing it every time Sebelius comes to you for “just a bit more.” Democrats rammed this crap sandwich down an unwilling nation’s throat, let them figure out how to pay for it.
May I suggest by first cutting back on a certain celebrity president’s vacations?
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)